Local Head Start reopens<br>

Williams Head Start, located at 310 W. Sherman, held an open house on Jan. 21 to celebrate their reopening. A sewer leak in early November forced the school to close for repair.

Numerous parents received information about the school while watching their children play at different learning and entertainment stations, and those present got to partake in the food and beverages that were provided.

The facility was forced to shut down for repairs in early November after storm runoff caused a sewage backup, which contaminated large potions of the school and caused upwards of $35,000 in damage.

During the shutdown, some classes were held at the Williams Youth Recreation Center.

“It was wonderful to have the teamwork with Rose (Newbold) and the city’s support on that,” says WHS Center Director Julie Fitzgerald.

The good news is that in the process of replacing many of the wood play objects that were damaged, the school has a fresh look with new carpeting, rugs, shelves, and play areas.

Fitzgerald revealed that a federal review team, responsible for monitoring the school, will be on site this week and that the facility is working towards receiving national accreditation for the education of young children, which will be a way for the school to verify that it has a quality program.

Recognized for being on the cutting edge of early childhood education, Head Start began in the 1960s as a way for lower-income families or children with special needs to participate in early childhood education. Head Start’s success also comes from a close bond to parents.

“We have a very strong parent group and we believe that the parents are the primary educators of their children,” Fitzgerald explains. “They are their first teachers, so we work in partnership with that.”

Fitzgerald says that while 80 percent of the school’s funding is federal, 20 percent comes in locally, either from donations, or in the form of volunteerism. Since there is no cost to the family, Head Start asks parents to help out as much as possible, either in class, on the playground, or at field trips.

The school operates Mon.-Fri., 7:45 a.m.-4 p.m. feeds its students through the Williams Elementary-Middle School breakfast/lunch programs, and has two sessions per day for a current total of 47 students.

For more information, call Williams Head Start at 635-4273.

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